PITTSFIELD -- A Great Barrington man was sentenced to serve up to 15 months behind bars and 18 months probation after agreeing to a plea bargain on Thursday in Berkshire Superior Court.
Andrew Dupont, 19, pleaded guilty to two counts of indecent assault and battery of a child over 15, and violating a harassment order.
The charges stem from a Dec. 27, 2011, incident in which Dupont, who was 18 at the time, had sexual contact with a 15-year-old without her consent.
He was initially charged with two counts of statutory rape of a child, but the charges were eventually lowered.
On May, 22, 2012, Dupont was driving around in circles near where the victim was and staring at her. After the third loop around, she called the police.
Dupont's attorney, William A. Rota, said the lesser charges allowed the judge, Daniel A. Ford, to decide whether his client would have to register as a sex offender.
"An 18-year-old had sexual contact with a 15-year-old girl, that's something that's inappropriate and should be punished," Rota told the judge. "Burning on his chest, the ‘Scarlet Letter' of sexual offender isn't [necessary]. It is not such that this young man should be burdened with it for many, many years."
Rota said that if Dupont's case went before the Sex Offender Registry Board it was a certainty the board would label him as a Level 3 offender, the level with the highest risk of repeat offense, because of the initial charges.
Assistant District Attorney Marianne Shelvey argued that the decision on whether Dupont should have to register as a sex offender should be up to the state board.
According to Shelvey, prior to the sexual encounter, Dupont, who knew the victim through mutual friends, had offered to obtain drugs for the victim and one of her friends during an online chat on Facebook while the victim was only 14.
She also argued that Dupont couldn't stay sober and violated his pre-trial conditions of release five different times for being intoxicated and/or under the influence of drugs.
"Clearly he hasn't got that under control, and if so, his decision making may not be clear," she said.
Judge Ford acknowledged Dupont's problems with drugs and alcohol, but said the 15 months in jail and the treatments he'll have to go through afterward will hopefully address that.
"I just don't see him as someone who poses a risk or threat as a repeat offender," the judge said. "I'm hopeful he straightens out his life."